I give credit for the term "Sola Constitutiona" to my friend Tony Laudadio, who was one of those who went door-knocking as a teenager during those campaigns of 2010-2012 that I have written some previous articles about.
"I am the president, so I can do whatever I want!" the strongman stomped off in rage. "Can" he? Well, technically he can but it does not mean he should. It is not in his power to do such, but somebody "can" do something that they shouldn't.
Let's say somebody wants to declare themselves president for life and centralize all the power in themselves. Can they? Yes. Should they? No. Never.
The Constitution has been the anchor holding this fragile state together – without the Constitution, we would have become (and were heading in the direction of becoming) 13 nations with constant bickering and lawlessness. Our stage was set to descend into the abyss of constant upheaval and chaos until the Constitution – our liberator – came along.
Of course, the Constitution is not perfect and has flaws. The Founding Fathers were flawed humans as well (like you and me), who were trying to get a nation started. Like every country, we have made the mistake of turning our Founding Fathers into mythological perfect beings with no ability to do evil; or on the contrary, we dismiss everything they said and wrote as "bad" because they did some bad things. We need to look critically and acknowledge that they did some bad things but also did good things. Our Constitution can do better in some areas but overall has been a success. The 14th Amendment, in particular, has stood as a firm barrier of protection for the rights of African-Americans and other groups of oppressed people. After the chains of slavery were broken, the 14th Amendment was put in place to assure their citizenship. May that title, that of "citizen," never be taken away from anybody. We are all citizens of earth, and to be a citizen of the republic should be something the president shouldn't be allowed to change.
If we do not get citizenship based on where we were born, where do we get it? Our parents. That can work, but in a nation of immigrants, would that mean that only Native Americans get citizenship? Even somebody like me whose family has been here since the 1600s and 1700s would eventually reach a point where somebody came from England. Speaking of England, even they came from somewhere else. Human history has been a long history of migration and movements for various reasons. Ever since the ancients rode across the plains chasing herds or went off on a ship for discovery, people have not stayed in the same place. The Romans and Greeks built cities, while in the far north of Europe, the Vikings took to the sea, and the Germanic tribes of present-day France and Germany moved around hunting.
Birthrite citizenship isn't unique to the U.S. – the entire Americas (with the exception of Colombia) have it. Other countries around the world do also.
If the president can just make an order to do away with a part of the Constitution, what is the purpose of the other two branches of government? What role do they serve?
If the president can command whatever he or she pleases, is that a monarchy?
The government works best when each part of the government works together with the others in the protection of the common good. Of course, only in a perfect world can true republicanism (or any form of government) ever come to be. But this doesn't mean we shouldn't be striving for it and striving to make this system the best it can be.
If the constitution can be changed with the stroke of one man's pen, what is to stop somebody in the future from saying, "I don't like the idea of freedom of speech" and striking it?
The dangers involved in this statement are immense – not only would it take away the citizenship of thousands of people, but it would also open up the door for the president to change the Constitution with just the stroke of a pen.
I'm not saying this because I happen to express many political differences with the president. I would say the same if President Obama or President Bush (or even the great President Washington) uttered such a statement.
The 14th Amendment protects the rights of people and should never be infringed on. The 14th Amendment speaks as strongly today as it did when the African-Americans were first liberated from the yoke of slavery, one of the most terrible stains on our nation's history.
May we uphold the 14th Amendment and the Constitution for ages to come.